Anyone who wants to approach the court for a lawsuit after getting into a truck accident in New York must do so by a particular deadline. This is called the statute of limitations. If you try to file a lawsuit after this deadline has passed, the court will throw your case out.
If you want to file a truck accident lawsuit in New York, your limit is three years from the date of the accident, in accordance with N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(4). This deadline applies to personal injury, property damage, and emotional distress claims.
Why Is There a Deadline at All?
A statute of limitations makes cases fair for everyone. As time passes, it’s harder to remember details and collect evidence. Lawsuits and criminal cases get more difficult to pursue. The victims and the state, need to act swiftly so that the accused parties can defend themselves while the case is fresh.
This right is enshrined in the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as the right to a “speedy trial.” The laws that make the statute of limitations enforce that right. Only a few crimes in New York, like murder, have no limit for prosecution.
Can I Still Make an Insurance Claim Past the Deadline?
If you breach the deadline before making a truck accident claim, you could try it. However, the insurer will know that you no longer have a trial option. That gives them the maximum leverage to give you as little as possible, or even nothing, even if you have a lawyer.
Sometimes, people wait because they don’t know the full amount they should claim. Personal injury lawyers know how to estimate future medical expenses based on experience and similar case studies. If something unexpected happens, they can ask for more, assuming your case hasn’t been settled yet.
Could the Deadline Be Shortened?
Yes. If your truck accident involved a truck owned by any level of the New York government, you only have 90 days to make a claim. Even if you choose to sue an insurance company without an attorney, you should reach out to the agency that owned the truck and request a claim form. File it before the 90 days is up.
Alternatively, if you’ve hired a lawyer, they can stop the clock (or “toll” the statute of limitations in legalese) so that you don’t have to worry about this deadline at all. As long as this has happened, your case can take as long as it needs.
When Should I Contact a New York Truck Accident Lawyer?
You should contact a lawyer as soon as you can after a doctor has examined you. Unlike a car accident, there are multiple possible people to sue and multiple insurers. A truck accident lawyer can determine which ones to contact to make a claim for your injuries.
It’s quite likely your injuries are severe if you are a truck accident victim. Don’t try to explain things to the insurer on your own. Hire a lawyer to do it instead, like the ones at Morelli Law. Do it as soon as you can to avoid problems with the statute of limitations in New York.